The Battle of the Unbeaten
July 2, 2005
The event, which
had been billed as “The Battle of the Unbeatens”, did not turn out as
promoter Jerry Hoffman hoped. This
is the down side of planning a card six months in advance.
Boxing has many hoops and bumps. Most
of the time it’s due to fighters breaking contracts.
Sadly, too often, it’s the negligence of the boxing commission.
Allegedly, the commission drooped the ball and did not notify Jerry about
“irregularities” in Julie Rubalcava’s blood work.
She’d been scheduled to fight Carina Moreno of Watsonville.
This fight was one of the big draws of the evening.
According to the Monterey Herald it was canceled fifteen minutes before
the event. After learning of the
cancellation, and much to Jerry’s chagrin, 39 fans requested refunds.
Jerry Hoffman’s formula is
difficult to beat. He never brings
in big named outsiders. He knows
local fans want to see local fighters. And
like all promoters he lives or dies on ticket sales.
I feel bad for Carina Moreno who placed her hopes on this fight.
I am certain she got other offers. She
based her decision not to fight since last November, on her belief that the
commission gives a damn. Unfortunately
so did Jerry. Too bad.
The commissioner is a political appointee.
That means he can’t be fired. He
has friends in high places and can do what he pleases.
This also means he can stink at his job, and still keep it. As you know, crap runs down hill. When things go wrong, the first guy to cover his ass is the
guy on top. It’s easier to blame
someone else, as we’ve seen President Bush do many times. Its not his fault we’re fighting a war, occupying a
country, and young men are dying. So
it is with the commissioner, its not his fault someone “dropped the ball”,
he’s only in charge.
This is an insult to everyone.
Jerry Hoffman, fighters and all promoters deserves better.
I am not saying this to endear myself to Jerry, it’s the truth.
The commissioner knows this is a risky business.
It requires attention to detail, lots of money, heart, and knowledge of
the game. According to Dennis
Taylor of the Monterey Herald, the commission had the paperwork for over 10
days, and did not examine it for any irregularities.
Well, whose job is it? According to The Herald, the person ultimately
responsible for this tremendous blunder is Commissioner, Dean Lohuis, whom I
call “his Excellency”, due to his autocratic demeanor.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whose fault it was, Jerry Hoffman, a guy
who has worked very hard was robbed of an opportunity to put on the best show of
I believe this may explain why
the vibes were so negative as I made my way into the Monterey Conference Center.
Usually, the pre-fight atmosphere is festive.
Not this time, it felt tense, like a crime scene.
It’s a lesson from the school of hard-knocks.
After twenty years in the military I’ve learned you never trust the
system. Never trust the guy in charge, especially if he isn’t at
risk himself. In combat winning the
battle, means surviving. Never
trust someone else to look out for your interests, as well as he does his own.
All systems are made up of bureaucrats, and bureaucrats are
self-perpetuating, inwardly focused, politicians.
All politicians are up for sale. Its
how that game is played. Ask anyone
who has taken a donation towards their reelection.
I’ll bet Jerry, who’s a quick study, will not make this mistake
I also learned Martin Sanchez,
a Mexican boxer living in Las Vegas died after being knocked out by Russian,
Rustam Nugave. Marc Ratner was the
commissioner. Sanchez died that
night at Valley Hospital Medial Central. He
was 26 years old. His life might
have been saved if the Commissioner taken more interest in his job.
Lets hope future tragedies can be avoided. This has the makings of a gigantic lawsuit.
The best fight of the night was a two rounder with six time Golden Glove
Champion Enrique Gutierrez and a brawler with twelve losses and two wins, Israel
Sandoval. Gutierrez looked as sharp as an Olympic swordsman.
It was still a mismatch. Sandoval
who displayed heart, failed to demonstrate an ability to stay away from
Gutierrez who’s had over a hundred amateur bouts.
It’s impossible to compensate for such a difference.
This is why amateur experience is so important.
The business of boxing requires
that promoters cultivate local boxers. By
doing so they guarantee attendance, improved ticket sales, and make money.
Its how the business of boxing operates. As a lover of this game I am also a critic.
I call 'em as I see ‘em. I
am certain Jerry, who is a sharp business guy, sees the earning potential in
Enrique Gutierrez and will adopt the appropriate strategy.
Enrique out classed Sandoval
and literally knocked him out of the ring with a solid shot to the head.
We had to push Sandoval back into the ring.
He took the eight count and reengaged.
It was a bad decision, Enrique charged in for the kill, forced him
against the ropes, and unleashed hell upon him.
I saw the towel come flying over the top rope, but the referee did not.
Sandoval took three or four shots he could’ve done without.
Enrique trains out of the Double Punches Gym in Santa Rosa.
I have nothing personal against
bad coaches. I know a lot of them.
I don’t particularly care for their company, but I don’t personally
dislike them. What I dislike is
deliberate maliciousness and deception. I
dislike haters, gang bangers and most politicians.
I also have trouble with incompetence.
If promoters were completely honest with managers, it would make it
easier for mangers to reject or accept a bout.
They should also have enough brains to check amateur records.
It appears Israel Sandoval’s manager didn’t.
This was a mistake
The first bout between James
Cook and Eddy Cota was not very interesting, though I’d rather be sitting
ringside than anywhere else. Being
a boxing connoisseur, it’s disheartening to witness inadequate performances.
Eddy Cota got the decision, although it did became a little more
exciting. It was never a good
The Second Best bout of the
night was Guadalupe “The Cobra”, Acosta, who came in wearing the strangest
hairstyle I’ve ever seen on a boxer. He
looked like someone out of a Bruce Lee movie.
He worn his hair in what Mario Serrano, Robert “The Ghost”,
Guerro’s publicist, called a Mongolian. Acosta
lacked fundamentals, had poor technique and inadequate footwork, but he had
confidence and juice in his punches. He
wore an army poncho and demonstrated flexibility by placing his leg over the top
rope. This is not “normal” behavior.
His opponent is best known for stopping a fighter by head butting him.
Jesse Curry may not have boxing skills, but he certainly has a hard head.
His has no fundamentals and charges like a buffalo.
He cracked the other guy’s head wide open and a cut as big as the Grand
Canyon poured blood. The fight was
The bell rang and Curry came
out attempting to dominate, but without much determination.
Curry’s punches were lazy fat cat punches, thrown from the elbow
without any power. He then threw
smelly cheese over hand rights. All
the while Acosta remained calm as a snake eyeing his dinner.
Which is why I’ve named him, The Cobra.
Suddenly he nailed Curry with a right upper cut, left hook, hurting him.
A moment later, Acosta’s attack rocked Curry.
Acosta then unleashed a torrent of punches that had Curry trying to hide
by sticking his head outside the ring. The
Crowd went wild. Watching form
ringside I thought Marco Rosales, the referee made a good call and stopped it. Like my buddy Dave Nelson who did not work due to politics,
Marco loves this game. Marco is a
gentleman and has made tremendous improvements.
I wish other officials would continue to improve as well.
The bout between Abraham
Verdugo of Phoenix and Joel Santigao of Las Vegas was semi exciting.
I’ve seen Verdugo get his butt whipped many times.
I gotta wonder what drives this poor kid.
He has nothing but heart going for him.
Each time I’ve seen him fight, he takes a worse beating. He has taken tremendous poundings by guys like Vicente
Escobedo. He has no power, no
footwork, no defensive technique, and yet here he is again, offering someone an
opportunity to beat him senseless. He
desperately needs help. I hope this
kid gets a new trainer before someone really hurts him.
He took such a beating, his corner stopped the fight after the fifth
round. No kidding, he looked like
Rocky after he fought Apollo in Rocky One.
The referee, Marty Sammon, took
a shot from one of the boxers. I
spoke with him after the fight; he said he’d only been hit in the head, so it
didn’t hurt. Keep in mind this is coming form a guy who use to jump out of
perfectly good airplanes, sometimes a night.
You gotta admit this is not normal.
Marty is a real character.
The Main Event could have been
called the Pillsbury Boy meets The Chocolate Man.
George Garcia, must weigh 264 pounds, but only stands five feet ten
inches. His opponent Eddie Neal
from Lemoore, with five wins and no losses was a huge man.
He was a dark brown, same as the color of chocolate, and stood six foot,
six inches. Neither of these guys impressed me. I came to watch a boxing match, not two huge guys dance.
Looking back Neal could have
easily beaten the Pillsbury Boy, if he’d had more brains, better conditioning
and more balls. It was hard to
believe such a big man couldn’t do anything with the shorter and fatter
Garcia. This six rounder could only
be considered a “main event” in Monterey where the ocean breeze seems to
effect people in a bizarre manner. How
many people have heard of a six round main event? Yet, the crowed loved it.
Just goes to prove that if you give fans something that resembles boxing,
throw in great looking ring girls, lots of booze, and an ocean breeze, they’ll
have a great time. Like I said,
Jerry has the right formula. Students
of the boxing business should learn a lesson.
Mr. Hoffman always sells out his shows, without ten round main events.
It was another great show.
The problems with the commission are as old as the moon.
It seems that as long as the commissioner is a political appointee, there
is little anyone can do about it. I've
written letters to the governor to no avail.
I’ve even lighted candles to the Virgin of Guadalupe believed to be the
Guardian of the down trodden. Nothing
seems to help. I may do like Ghandi
and try a hunger strike, only I don’t think that would work either. As usual in politics, money and ego-driven old men make the
rules, which is why we find ourselves in this situation.
Again, I urge all boxing fans to write the governor and ask that a full
investigation on the commission’s performance be initiated.
If you pay taxes and are registered, you have a vote, and he has to
listen. Tell ‘em I sent you, he knows me.
In closing, I recently learned
45 year old Tommy Hearns, is planning a come back.
There is so much money in boxing now that old dogs are dusting off their
gloves and stepping back into the fray. Good
for him. Lets hope the years have toughened up his chin and he can
finally take a punch. I met him in
Reno. I was disappointed.
I’d been a fan for years. In
that one instant all his bitterness and self-pity spilled out.
Instead of behaving like a champion who once held the greatest title in
the world, he behaved like a loser, without respect for anyone. He reminded me of a guy who’s recently being released from
prison. You know what I mean, phony
tough, trash-talking losers, like so many found in Stockton.
Living in Stockton, which is surrounded by prisons, I’ve met dozens of
these guys. It was a pitiful
display. To add salt to the wound,
his trainer, another man I once admired, Emmanuel Stewart was with him.
Too bad. I guess he
doesn’t respect his coach anymore than he respects himself.
I’ve met many former champions who continue to squeeze out media
attention and public respect for they’re past accomplishments.
I always differentiate
someone’s past victories, from their present behavior.
Outside the ring, Tommy Hearns, impressed me as just another dime a dozen
thug. Too bad, like I said, I
wanted to like him. He’s not the
only former champions I’ve seen behave badly.
I don’t remember how many times I’ve seen Tony “The Tiger” Lopez,
a local hero, drunker than a monkey, yet he still manages to garner media
attention. Has anybody ever asked
him why he does it? I hear he’s
training fighters now. I don’t
believe he ever knew how to box. He was just a brawler with a hard head who could take a
I asked once again that readers
send out a prayer to boys in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My audio fight coverage can be heard on several Radio Stations.
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with these disappointments and my on-going struggle to get the governor to
launch an investigation on the commission’s performance, I gotta say Thank God
you Ring Side
Jorge A. Martinez